"Everyone can relate to making bad choices under pressure", Evyenia Walton says
If Evyenia Walton could defend a villain in court, she’d defend the Joker. From her youth, she knew that she wanted to be a lawyer, and she has never strayed from the dream since.
She joined DW Fox Tucker Lawyers as a special counsel with the establishment of the firm’s service innovation program, and has been eager to spearhead initiatives that will help lead the firm into the future. However, the core of Walton’s love of the profession remains leaving clients with a positive experience of the legal industry.
In this December interview, Walton talks what she’s learned from being a lawyer and business owner, her involvement in succession planning and mentoring programs, and outgrowing a firm.
What made you choose a career in law, and what’s your favourite part of the job?
I had always wanted to be a lawyer from a young age and never wanted to do anything else! My favourite part of the job is achieving excellent outcomes for my clients and for them to have a good experience with the legal profession.
What is going on at the organisation? Are there any new programs and initiatives that you’re particularly interested in?
It’s a busy firm at the moment, with lots of project planning underway for 2023. We will introduce a number of new initiatives next year that will modernise the way that we work and deliver services. The firm is rejuvenating, and I’m excited to be a part of it.
In addition to championing our service delivery project, I’m really looking forward to investing my energy into the firm’s succession planning and mentoring programs. DW Fox Tucker has many wonderful senior practitioners from whom I’m keen to learn as much as possible, but I’ll also play a key role in shaping the next generation of innovative young lawyers.
What tech-related initiatives adopted by the organisation, if any, are you most excited about?
I’m really excited to be driving innovative changes that will improve productivity and efficiency in the delivery of legal services, including the identification and implementation of modern-app tech stacks. I’m also excited to improve the client user experience online with design thinking and alternative document and advice delivery approaches.
What has been your proudest accomplishment in the last year or so? Or what’s the biggest lesson you learned in the past year and what advice can you give fellow lawyers about it?
Owning and operating my practice and being a key advisor to family businesses around me has given me an excellent opportunity to understand better the nuances of running a business and the importance of managing relationships at every level.
As a lawyer and business owner, one of the most challenging facets of the role is knowing when something isn’t working for you anymore. Facing that reality and taking the necessary next steps requires real fortitude, but the rewards are there if you’re willing to accept and take the leap. I moved my practice into DWFT because I was outgrowing my firm and needed to ensure my clients continued receiving the high-level support they were used to receiving from me. The move has been great! It has allowed me to be amongst and learn from my peers while doing the work I love.
Most pleasingly, I have continued to meet and exceed the high service standards I expect of myself. So although change can be scary – it can end up being one of the best things for you.
What should the profession focus more on?
The clients! Sometimes we get distracted by other professional pursuits, but the focus should always be on delivering quality, effective and efficient advice to clients and ensuring the documents we draft are easy for all parties to understand.
What are the challenges you expect in your practice, and in the business of law in general, going forward? What challenges are particularly pressing in the country’s legal industry?
In my view, challenges are just another word for opportunities! But if I had to pick one, I would say that attracting and retaining great young lawyers would have to be the profession’s biggest challenge at the moment. This is why providing the right culture, growth opportunities, and career pathways is so important, which is what DWFT has and plans to expand on.
What are you looking forward to the most in the coming year?
I can’t wait to catch up with old and new clients over the summer to learn about their recent success and what’s happening in their industries. I’m also excited to be a key part of driving the exciting changes that are about to happen at the firm.
If you had to defend a fictional antagonist/villain in court, who would you pick, and why?
Great question! I would choose the Joker from the Batman movies because he is a product of his environment, and everyone can relate to making bad choices under pressure.